Laser Hair Removal

What is laser hair removal ? How does it work ?

Laser hair removal offers patients a safe, fast, and effective alternative for dealing with unwanted hair. Lasers work by emitting a specialized light that is passed through the skin and preferentially absorbed by its target, be it an unwanted blood vessel, birthmark, tattoo, or in this case, hair. The laser used in hair removal targets the melanin (color) in the hair follicle, damaging the follicle and removing the hair. 
Laser hair removal is safe enough to be used on all body parts, including the face, back, underarms, bikini line, legs, and arms. 

What treatments are available ?

Waxing, shaving, and the use of depilatory creams are well-established methods for hair removal, albeit temporary. Electrolysis is the traditional tried and tested method for permanent hair removal, but is often very time-consuming and inefficient. These days, the most popular and most effective method for hair removal is the use of lasers which have been specifically designed to damage and destroy many hairs in a short time, and with little chance of complications. People are interested in laser hair removal because it involves new and efficient technology, and because its effects are permanent in over 80% of its subjects. 

Is treatment permanent ?

On average, each laser treatment will be associated with five to 10 percent permanent hair loss. So in most cases, a reasonable degree of permanent hair removal can only be ach ieved after several treatments.  The number of treatments will depend on each patient's individual response to laser surgery, and the amount of hair to be removed.  Remember that the goal may not be total hair removal.  Many patients are happy with a reasonable degree of hair reduction. Also remember that the hair that remains is often lighter in color and thinner than the original hair prior to laser surgery.  As with other treatments for unwanted hair, there is no guarantee that laser hair removal treatment will be permanent.

How many treatments are necessary ?

Factors such as the amount of hair and individual reaction to the laser treatment will affect the number of treatments needed.  In most cases, three to six treatments will be necessary to achieve optimal results.

Does treatment hurt ? What can I expect with the procedure ?
Most patients describe laser hair removal as feeling "prickly," or like the light snap of a rubber band against the skin. Afterwards, it might feel like a bad sunburn. Each patient has his or her own level of skin sensitivity and pain threshold. Different areas on the body are also more sensitive than others. 
On the day of your treatment, plan on wearing clothing that will allow easy access to the area being treated. you may not need any type of anesthesia for your treatments. Laser hair removal works best when the hair is one to two millimeters in length. No specific care is needed after the treatment. 

How long will it take my skin to heal ?

Normally the skin just looks red and swollen for up to 48 hours, or possibly longer. Most patients will be offered a tes t area before un dergoing a full treatment. This gives them a great idea of how the treatment will feel, and the length of time it will look red and swollen. Occasionally, patients can develop a blistering reaction. If this happens, call your treating physician and ask for specific post-laser treatment options.

What will I look like immediately afterwards ?

Generally, some redness will remain for approximately five to seven days. For some patients recovery time will be less while other patients will have prolonged redness.

How much does treatment cost ? 

The cost of treatment is dependent on many factors. These factors could include the size of the area needing treatment, the number of treatments necessary, and the individual fees each office charges for treatments. Some offic e s have package deals that include a certain number of treatments per year for a reduced cost. It's always best to ask when scheduling an appointment.

Are consultations free ?

Different offices handle payment for consultations in different ways. It is best to ask this question at the time when you schedule a consultation.

Does the consultation fee go towards treatment cost if I decide to have treatment ?

Again, each office operates in its own individual way. In some instances the consultation fee will go towards the first treatment. In other cases the consultation fee is completely separate.

Will my insurance coverage treatment ?

Unwanted hair is usually a cosmetic i ssue, so in most cases you should expect to pay for treatment. In the rare instances where treatment is considered medically necessary, insurance may cover the cost of treatment. It's best to speak to your doctor and your insurance company to clarify this question.

What procedures are considered "medically necessary" vs. "cosmetic" ?

In some cases, hormone problems or other problems that can cause pain to you are considered medically necessary. However, even though a physician might consider a condition and medically necessary, the insurance company might disagree and refuse to pay for treatment. It's best to consult with both your physician and your insurance company before going ahead with treatment.

Are there free studies ? Can I be a guinea pig ?

The best place to start would be at laser research centers. University physicians are often in the forefront of testing new technology and laser applications, as well as training new physicians and medical personnel. Another place to check would be private practices; sometimes these physicians may be involved with testing new lasers or conducting clinical studies. Laser companies may also be able to tell you where their own lasers might be involved in clinical studies. Our Clinic hopes to be a good source for this information in the future. 

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